LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A number of sheriff’s deputies visiting Little Rock from around the state didn’t receive the warm welcome they were hoping for – after a number of their patrol cars were broken into and their gear stolen.
The Little Rock Police Department says a group of teenagers are behind the burglaries, with three now in custody.
Long before sunrise, officers were sweeping up broken glass and trying to figure out just how many cars were hit in the Riverside parking lot. Thieves thought the cover of night would hide their attempts to steal from deputies – but a patrolling LRPD officer caught them red-handed before the vandals could get away.
The quite stretch of the Arkansas River Trail behind the River Market doesn’t necessarily look like the scene of a crime. But overnight, sheriff’s deputies visiting the Arkansas Sheriff’s Winter Convention found themselves on the other end of a 911 call – investigating break ins to their own cars.
Those walking along President Clinton Ave. were shocked to hear that 5 different patrol cars hailing from Pope, Independence, Crawford, Union, and Baxter counties were broken into, targeting deputies staying the night down the street.
“Are you serious?” said one visitor to the River Market. “Sheriff’s cars?” “It kind of takes a lot of nerve to break into a police car,” said Dave Kong, who’s visiting from Florida. He says he’s enjoyed taking in Little Rock’s outdoors, and exploring what the city has to offer. “Lots of walking areas, lots of trails. It’s pretty cool,” Kong said.
But on those same trails he’s explored, a group of teenagers ranging from 14 to 17 were hiding from the law.
3 suspects were caught breaking into the vehicles by an LRPD officer on patrol. After a brief chase around Riverside park, the trio was taken into custody.
The pursuit happened in the early morning hours of Tuesday – but those living nearby say they didn’t hear a thing. “I live right down the street and I haven’t heard anything,” said someone walking downtown, who was surprised to hear about the theft.
Officers were able to retrieve two rifles that were taken from the cars, items that Kong says are a risky grab. “It just seems to me if you’re going to break into a police car then you’re pretty desperate.”
While crews sweep up the broken glass and evidence tape, sheriff’s deputies from around Arkansas are headed home with missing windows – and a new perspective on the cases they cover having walked in the victim’s shoes.